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By Frank McKenna

By Frank McKenna

The Tories need to lose – but Labour doesn’t need a landslide

Frank McKenna wants a Labour win – but not a Tory wipeout.

“We need to get beaten. We need a reset. We are done.” So said a Tory activist to me a few months back. If the polls are to be believed, she will get her wish – and then some.

The latest predictions about what will happen on 4th July make for horror reading for Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives. Some polling suggests that they will be left will under 100 seats, which would be simply disastrous.

The decision of Nigel Farage to return to the fray is unlikely to help the Tories. Reform inevitably takes more blue votes than red.

That this government deserves to lose, there is little doubt. They have undermined confidence in politics and politicians with their disdain of the rules and chaotic antics, their ‘musical chairs’ approach to ministers, and indeed prime ministers – and they crashed the economy.

Sunak may claim “not me guv” – but he was in the room. And, even if you give him the benefit of the doubt for some of the Tory psycho drama of the past five years, you cannot claim that he has any sort of grip on the maniac wing of his party.

Indeed, rather than being ‘more Rishi’, Sunak has simply tacked further to the right on a whole host of issues since he assumed the premiership almost two years ago.

Scrapping HS2, Rwanda, woke wars, and National Insurance tax cuts that the country cannot afford, strike me as being positions that Sunak has been forced into because of his weakness within his own party, rather than being policies that he truly believed in.

I warned the Conservatives years ago that their direction of travel to the extreme right of politics, abandoning the middle ground to Labour, would end in tears. In the end, you can’t out-right Reform.

For example, Sunak says he’ll put twenty refugees a week on a plane to Africa. Farage says he’ll stop all immigration, full stop!

As for Labour, having lost four consecutive elections, they remain sceptical about those polls. But, National Service, a quadruple lock on pensions, and a £2,000 tax scare – and the numbers haven’t shifted, with Keir Starmer’s party maintaining a lead of around 20%.

If those polls prove to be right, then that would give Labour a huge majority – and with that would come equally huge expectations. A majority north of 100 would result in junior doctors, rail workers, and a range of public service leaders pushing Rachael Reeves to tear up her ‘steady as she goes’ treasury plans.

More than that, a very weak opposition would not be holding the government properly to account – which is never good for the ruling party, which gets complacent, nor the country.   

Ideally, a Labour win that is big enough for it to deliver its programme, and a Tory performance that leaves them with more than a parliamentary rump – and less vulnerable to a reverse takeover from Farage and Reform, would be the best result for Starmer, the Conservatives – and us.

Downtown in Business